Press Releases

For Immediate Release
July 16, 2018

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Tricia Harris, | 717.720.5447

PA Chamber: Attention on Opioid Epidemic is Appreciated but Response is Insufficient

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement following a PA Department of Health press conference announcing opioid prescribing guidelines for the state’s workers’ compensation system.  In April, the governor vetoed S.B. 936 – legislation that would have implemented a prescription drug formulary for Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system.  Standard in other states, drug formularies have been shown to address overuse of and addiction to prescription drugs among injured workers.


 “While we appreciate the Wolf administration’s focus on the opioid epidemic and recognition of its impact on injured workers, we remain deeply disappointed with the governor’s decision to veto legislation this past spring that would have helped injured workers avoid opioid abuse and addiction.  States as ideologically diverse as California and Texas have implemented legislation similar to Senate Bill 936 and data from around the country has empirically shown this approach reducing opioid prescribing and addiction among injured workers.   The governor announced his intent to issue these guidelines the day before he vetoed Senate Bill 936 and at the time we expressed our concern that an executive order to issue guidelines is simply not an adequate substitution for legislation, as they are inherently temporary solutions that do not carry the full force of law and lack critical oversight and accountability.


“Fighting the opioid epidemic has been a top priority for this administration, which clearly recognizes the magnitude of this crisis. Surely we can all agree that the stakes are too high for half-measures and symbolic gestures. We look forward to continuing to work with the Wolf administration and the Legislature on this issue.”


The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.